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A unique advisory experience is regarded as a key success factor for both the banking and the insurance industry. Currently the advisory process is often burdened with information asymmetries and emotionally dissatisfaction. Both have lead to low overall service quality perception, to erroneous decisions, bad publicity and low customer retention. The financial service providers are today in a situation of low customer trust, normative demands and a challenging economic environment.
Our research in that field started with a broad survey at all major Swiss banks. In collaboration with Solution Providers, we interviewed advisors, marketing managers, IT managers and customers to evaluate their satisfaction with services, processes and IT support. We also identified gaps in their perceptions.
Building on this empirical study we built a system for innovative financial advisory in collaboration with a major Swiss bank. In two years time, we developed IT-artifacts to support face-to-face advisory services, with a design goal of increasing transparency, as perceived by the customer. That research provided key findings on how such systems have to be designed in order to achieve their design goals while maintaining traditional values of advisory services like strong interpersonal relationships.
Currently, together with a Swiss retail bank we strive to foster knowledge transfer as well as enhancing the service encounter experience. The first objective focuses on the transfer of knowledge from the advisor towards the customers to make them understand their decisions. The second objective focuses on the creation of positive emotions and fulfillment of advisory customers financial and psychological needs.
In our research we always aim to address these socio-technical systems by both introducing advisory processes and providing supportive technical systems. Thereby our initial perspective is strictly customer-oriented: we attempt to understand their interests and needs. Our proposed solutions, however, also consider other important stakeholders, first of all the advisor. We aim to bring together advisor and customer in an equalized, collaborative advisory process.
In our current research on such advisory processes (and how to support them), we focus on the following aspects: